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July 14, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

Albany Democrats show their true colors

The one-House Tenant Bills passed in the Assembly for years have finally moved over to a Democratically-controlled senate. There, they are likely to suffer the same fate as occurred under Republican control — deep-sixed. If tenants forget, we’ll remind them in 2010.

Thanks to Sue Susman for pointing out this piece.


July 14, 2009 – In the aftermath of last week’s resolution of the Senate leadership dispute, the tenant movement calls for swift Senate action for stronger rent laws. After months of maintaining a daily vigil in the halls of the New York State Capitol, tenants expressed dismay that priority housing bills are not on the active list for Wednesday’s Senate session. Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15, tenants will gather to remind the Senate leadership of their long-standing promises to deliver needed housing legislation.

The repeal of vacancy decontrol (S2237-A) and protections for former Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 tenants (S3326) remain urgent priorities for tenants facing economic crisis and the ongoing deterioration of New York State’s affordable housing stock. Pushed by landlord lobbyists, the June 8 leadership coup derailed a Housing Committee vote on vacancy decontrol repeal that had been scheduled for the next day.

New York City and the suburban counties of Westchester, Rockland and Nassau have already lost 300,000 affordable apartments to vacancy decontrol. In a recent report entitled “Destabilized Rents: The Impact of Vacancy Decontrol on Low-Income Communities,” Thomas Waters and Victor Bach of the Community Service Society explain the devastating impact of vacancy decontrol on low-income families and people of color. Between 2002 and 2008, the report found that low-income people faced a marked decrease in their ability to find rent-regulated apartments, leaving tenants facing higher rents and fewer protections.

Senate Democratic leaders have made repeated promises to Democratic Senators and to tenant advocates that the Senate will take up the priority housing bills during the 2009 legislative session. At a June 24 press conference, Senator Sampson cited the need to repeal vacancy decontrol as an example of the “people’s business.” Tenants will hand-deliver a letter to Majority Leader Smith and Conference Chair Sampson, calling for the Senate to deliver on their promises by bringing priority housing legislation to the floor and assuring their passage before the close of the 2009 session.

More than 50 tenants from New York City and Westchester County will travel to Albany to press Senators to act on the tenant bills.

WHAT: Press Conference of tenant leaders and Senate allies
WHERE: Outside the third floor Capitol offices of Senators John Sampson and Malcolm Smith
WHEN: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 12:00 Noon
CONTACT: Giti Dadlani, (305) 812-5505

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